In my first and quite possibly last chance at writing the Roto Roundup, I try to inject some Seinfeld humor into the day's biggest headlines. Giddy up!
Yu Darvish, yada, yada, yada...many strikeouts.
I don't know about you, but my Twitter timeline was filled with all sorts of Yu Darvish this and Yu Darvish that last night, including this very optimistic tweet from @MLB:
He’s getting close! Yu Darvish has 14 Ks through 6 on 98 pitches, just 7 Ks away from setting single-game record: http://t.co/Rq3X7LJ77n— MLB (@MLB) August 2, 2013
No, the Rangers didn't let history cloud their better judgment by allowing Darvish to throw bullets until his arm fell off; they instead settled for Darvish's 10th win and a continued chance to win the American League pennant. Darvish did go out and finish the seventh inning, ending the night with 14 strikeouts (and no walks), giving him a major league leading 186 strikeouts in 138 2/3 innings. It was Darvish's fourth game with 14 K's this season, which is twice as many as the rest of MLB (h/t to FT's @Andrew_Ball).
Since the All-Star break, Darvish has two wins with a 0.47 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings. He's back, baby!
Justin Masterson is master of his domain.
Justin Masterson held the White Sox to one run over 6 2/3 innings on Thursday, striking out seven while allowing five hits and three walks en route to his 13th win. The right-hander is now 13-7 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and a 160/58 K/BB ratio in 156 2/3 innings.
Masterson has dominated at Progressive Field, winning eight games while posting a 2.54 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 13 starts. His ERA jumps to 4.37 on the road, and while I don't suggest benching him outside of Cleveland, his best work so far has come at home -- where he's held opposing batters to a .218/.303/.283 slash line.
The biggest boom to the 28-year old's 2013 stock is a 25% strikeout rate -- up from 17.6% in 2012. Already, Masterson has more strikeouts (160) than he had in all of 2012 (159), and he's done it in 49 2/3 fewer innings.
"Bizarro Matt Harvey" loses in Miami.
Matt Harvey did something no one saw coming on Thursday, losing to the Marlins and failing to make it past six innings for the first time since June 2nd -- a span of nine starts. Harvey's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
OK, so it wasn't all bad, but Harvey's performance "stopped short" of many fantasy owners' expectations, especially those who went all in on the Mets rookie in daily formats. He's still awesome, will likely always be awesome, but it's interesting to note that Harvey has gone "O-fer" against Miami in four tries, including a 4.50 ERA in three starts in Miami.
The takeaway here: Don't let Harvey DJ your house party in South Beach. He obviously isn't ready to get "jiggy with it." (Seriously, though, start Harvey everywhere.)
"Back it up, back it up, beep, beep, beep..." Don't look now, but Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are starting to hit. Both went deep on Thursday, with Heyward hitting his third home run in seven games, and Upton smacking two for the first time since the first week of the season. Since being moved to the leadoff spot, Heyward has gone 8-for-24 with 11 runs and 8 RBIs, making the last thing I said about the young outfielder look really, really stupid. As for Upton, he's batting in the second spot now, and he's gone 10-for-25 with five runs and six RBIs in the last six games.
"Oh, this isn't even BO! This is beyond BO! This is BBO!" Jonathan Papelbon blew his sixth save on Thursday, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk against the Giants. It's not like he has an inflated ERA and WHIP or anything, but he's striking out just 21.6% of batters after striking out 32.4% the year before. His velocity is down for the third straight year, and, frankly, he's stuck in a crummy situation -- one he partly created. Not happy times in Philadelphia right now.
"These pretzels are making me thirsty." Before Papelbon was blowing the game, Matt Cain and Cole Hamels were locked in a good ole fashioned pitchers' duel. Cain ended up with the win, allowing one run over eight innings with seven strikeouts and two walks, while Hamels was left with the unlucky no-decision after throwing eight scoreless with five strikeouts and one walk. Both have been disappointing this season, but both have the track record to finish strong.